Bradley Hospital helps you deal with difficult parenting issues in these comprehensive reference sections:
Effective DisciplineCurrent attitudes, ideas and help for parents of toddlers, teens and kids in between.En español
Alcohol & Drug AbuseUnderstanding potential problems, signs of abuse, and tips for prevention and intervention.En español
Depression & SuicideRecognize the signs of depression, why kids fall victim and what you can do to help.En español
Teenage PartiesWhat you don't know can hurt you. Tips for parents of hosts and guests. Plus, ideas for a successful bash.En español
Life's Difficult ChangesSymptoms of transitional difficulty in parents and kids and advice for dealing with change.En español
Parent/Child CommunicationFeel like you're from different planets? Here's how to find middle ground.En español
Childhood ChoresWhy household chores are important for kids and teens.En español
Healthful LeisureA little leisure might be just what your family needs. Why leisure time is important and how to add more to your life.En español
Rhode Island Parents' Guide to Children's Mental Health (PDF 5.07mb)Have questions about common children's mental health problems? Download this one-stop resource for those answers plus information about advocacy organizations and support groups.
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AnorexiaBulimiaBody Dysmorphic Disorder
The teenage years are difficult ones. The pressure to fit in is intense and the desire to be popular is often overwhelming. For some teens, this pressure includes attempting to conform to an unrealistic body image standard to the point where their preoccupation with self-image becomes something more serious.
It is normal for teens to feel self-conscious in the teen years and to worry about how other teens perceive them. However, an intense focus on one's self can render teens, more than at other times in their lives, vulnerable to developing more serious body image preoccupations and disorders.
Experts say that research conducted with patients at Bradley Hospital has shown the severe effects that body image concerns can have, at least among adolescent psychiatric patients.
Adolescent psychiatric patients with severe body image preoccupations have higher rates of depression and suicidal thoughts than other patients without these problems. There are some teens who have made suicide attempts and report that the reason they wanted to kill themselves was because of their distress around their perceived appearance defects (when in fact most were not overweight and were normal in appearance).
Though the study related to teens already receiving psychiatric treatment, ot is not healthy for any teen to have a predominantly negative view of themselves and be unable to identify aspects of themselves that they value, nor is it healthy for teens to become preoccupied, distressed and impaired by their negative preoccupations.
Sometimes, severe preoccupations with one's body image can result in serious issues such as eating disorders, like anorexia and bulimia, or body dysmorphic disorder.
The risks: Starving one's self can cause a number of severe medical problems, including but not limited to, electrolyte imbalances, nutritional deficits, bone density loss, dental problems and over time, major organ failure.
The risks: The medical risks include all those associated with anorexia. In addition, there seem to be associations among bulimia and risk behaviors such as substance-use and self-harming behaviors like cutting. For anorexia, this association is less pronounced.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder
The risks: For teens with BDD, there is a risk of having a very poor quality of life. The time spent being preoccupied with appearance concerns often takes away from other activities, and teens with BDD may also avoid social and academic activities due to their intense feelings of ugliness and/or belief that others see them the same way. Truancy, academic and social problems become a real risk when this avoidance is extreme. There is also a high risk for developing co-occurring depression which may include suicidal thoughts and actions.